Discussion Paper

The Role of Manufacturing in the Rural Fifth District

Abstract: A manufacturing job became the pathway to a middle-class lifestyle for many American families in the decades immediately following World War II. Although the industry has suffered large employment losses since the 1970s, it remains a critical source of employment in rural America. This article explores historical trends in manufacturing employment in the United States and the Fifth District. Since the 1990s, despite a sharper decline in manufacturing employment in the district than in the United States, manufacturing in rural North Carolina, rural South Carolina, and rural Virginia composes a larger share of employment than in the nation. Additionally, since manufacturing jobs pay above the average wage in rural areas, employment growth in the sector benefits rural economies.

Keywords: employment; manufacturing; rural economy;

Access Documents


Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Part of Series: Regional Matters

Publication Date: 2022-04-28